Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
(the Confessional Secrets Remix)

by Brutti Ma Buoni

Fandom(s): Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Word Count: 1,118 words
Rating: PG
Characters: Faith, Wesley

Remix of “Ex Post Facto”.

Forgive me, Watcher, for I have sinned.

That’s how it goes, right? Right, Wes? Or is that not your Church of England thing? I wouldn’t know. Church is so not my thing, Baptist, Episcopalian or woo-woo out there Jonestown-style.

But here it is: my confession.

Because, you know what, Wes? I have done many bad things in life. I was learning to pay for them, and now it seems like everyone forgot about that part. Does that sound familiar to you?

Yeah. I thought so. My guys have permissive amnesia, because I’m useful. Not quite the same for you. Angel told me about your deal. The whole Connor kidnap, dimensional rift, betrayal of friends, cutting of throats deal. And also how hardly anyone remembers it now. But he likes to tell me about the worst things he does. Like a confessor. Like I’m in his league. Like I still do that stuff.

Which, let me tell you, I do not.

So, the offer’s out there, Wesley. I bet you won’t take it. I bet there’s too much going on, with your dead love and the god wearing her face. I bet you never think of me anymore. I bet there’s some bad shit going down and you want to drown in that and never hear from me again.

Well, I tried that, Wes. I tried that and you know what? You come out the other side, the things you did before will still be waiting.

The thing I did that haunts me, can you guess what that was?

Lemme give you a clue. It doesn’t involve poison arrows and Angel festering in Buffy’s arms. It doesn’t involve aiming to gut B, and betraying her, and betraying all her friends and the kids at Sunnydale High who almost nearly accepted me as a random dropout pal of Buffy’s. Or the good cattle of Sunnydale, mooing towards their fate in a town the Mayor designed for demons. It most definitely doesn’t involve Trick. Or screwing with Riley behind Buffy’s back, riding him in her shell. None of that.

Not Finch. You know what’s dumb about Finch? I didn’t mean to kill him. No jury — well, no jury that understood about vampire slayage — would have ever convicted me of murder. It was Buffy that did that, in her own mind. The worst I did was run, and panic, and let that drive me away. But that isn’t what stays with me. That ain’t it at all.

It’s not you and the hot, cold, blunt, loud — and sharp. I always liked the sharp the best. You know that. You knew it then, as I sat on your knee with you under my hands and did whatever I could to put myself beyond salvage, because salvage was too hard. You knew I was loving every smooth, slithering second that I cut you. Didn’t you?

No. It’s none of that. It’s not even the little girls I got killed, back in the ’Dale and in the months since, all those little heroines that go up against the worst things in life and tear like bloody tissue paper.

It’s Lester. You remember Lester? He seemed like your kind of guy. He wasn’t anyone, really. Just a guy. Teaching at UC-Sunnydale. I found out, Oz wanted to take Geology the next year and they didn’t offer it as planned. You know why? Because I killed Lester, quick and sure and without a moment of hesitation.

He died quick. I was pretty good by then.

He wore a little bow tie, and he was pleasant. I smiled, and he smiled back. Invited me in. We exchanged words for a second.

We could have talked about volcanoes, as you do with a little old guy who knows nothing but. He had a picture on the wall, that much I recall. But all I knew, all I cared about, was that the boss wanted him dead. So I killed him.

I told him, before. I wanted him to know. Not just feel that thump in the back and bleed out before he even realized it. It’s a mercy, that way. Easier’n a cardiac arrest. No time for pain.

But I told him I was going to kill him, before I killed him.

I don’t even know why. I’m not that girl. I’ve killed a whole lot of demons and a few too many people to pretend it’s an accident. But it’s personal, or it’s not. With Buffy, sure, up in her face, I wanted to gut her with my own best weapon, and I wanted her to know it. But not with some professor that didn’t do anything wrong except be in the way of Olvikan and the future.

Or that’s what I beat myself up with, on dark nights, anyways. Even in a coma, Lester was one I had at the back of my mind. When I woke, when I came to see you guys, when I cut you and burned you, it was at least a little bit about Lester.

But you know what, Watcher?

I met a whole bunch of inconvenient people on the way to getting gutted by Buffy Summers. A whole bunch. You know how many I killed?

Fingers of one hand, Wes. Just the fingers. No need for thumbs. I wasn’t a killer without reason.

(Violent, sure? You’d need whole bunch of spare hands to count the bruises and beatings I dealt out in those last weeks. Hands attached to arms ripped from joints, maybe. I like it when demons come apart that way. People, less so.)

But Lester, I did him within seconds. I didn’t even have a direct order. (“Make sure he’s kept quiet, okay?” is all Mayor Wilkins said to me. But then, dude never liked to specify too hard. Leave lieutenants space to make their own decisions, he’d say. Bad decisions found their own reward.)

And I don’t know why. Something was riding me, Wesley. Something said, “This one? He dies.” And I don’t know. I just don’t know whether that was my knife and my gut and my want to end someone innocent. Or whether I had some Slayer sense about him that I didn’t even know.

Was I a righteous killer, Wesley? Is that even possible? Because, if not, then Lester is what’ll send me to hell. But somehow, I can’t help feeling that ain’t exactly the case.

You gonna give me absolution now, Watcher? Think of me and share forgiveness for the unforgiveable when I scrumple this up and set light to it and never send it your way because … Well. Because I guess I don’t have the guts to ask that question. Not really.


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